Modern Australian

Fact or Fiction? Learn the Truth Behind These 6 Common Beliefs About Wine

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Our species has had a centuries-long romance with wine. It has been a tumultuous relationship, with many roaring good times but just as many mistakes, break-ups (aka Prohibition), and lies. Indeed, many of the beliefs we hold dear about wine are not as true as we’d like them to be. Let’s take a look at six of the most common ideas about wine to see if they hold up to scrutiny. 

1. Expensive bottles are better

Of course, many of the highest quality wines do cost a pretty penny. However, in general, the price of a bottle is more than just a reflection of the quality of the wine within it. From labor and label design to oak barrels and grape harvester parts, winemakers have many costs to factor into their pricing.

If you’re looking for a high-quality wine at an affordable price, here’s a tip: look for wines made in less famous locations from less popular grapes. Producers in these regions can offer top-quality wine at a more affordable price. 

2. You should let the wine sit after uncorking

Though it’s true that you should aerate wine before taking your first sip, the bottle is not the best place to achieve this. Its narrow neck restricts the flow of air, so it’s better to pour right away and allow the wine to breathe in your glass.

For best results, consider transferring the wine to a decanter before serving. Depending on your wine of choice, you may wish to let it sit for anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours. However, if you’re in a hurry, pouring it between two decanters a couple of times will rapidly increase the ratio of air to wine. 

3. Sweet wines are low-brow

If you’ve ever been looked down on for ordering a glass of rosé, take heart! Enjoying sweet wine does not reflect poorly on your palette. Some of the greatest wines in the world are sweet. From Sauternes to Trockenbeerenauslese, sweet wines have a fascinating history, and it’s often the most experienced palates that appreciate them most.

4. Red wine has proven health benefits

Though red wine certainly does contain some antioxidants, including resveratrol, this doesn’t necessarily mean it’s good for you. The latest research suggests you’d need one gram of resveratrol a day to gain any significant health benefits. To get that from wine, you’d have to drink about 500 to 2,700 liters (about 130 to 720 gallons). This wouldn’t even be possible, let alone safe or healthy! 

5. Certain wines must go with certain foods

White wine with steak would be a travesty, right? And don’t even get us started on red wine with fish. The truth is, there are no rigid rules when it comes to wine and food combinations. Instead, it comes down to your personal tastes and the power of the flavors in the wine and the food. Feel free to experiment. That way you’ll learn which flavors complement each other, which compete, and which are an absolute disaster. 

6. Screw-top bottles are inferior

There’s something elegant and sophisticated about a corked bottle of wine. It has a sense of tradition and artfulness to it that stands in stark contrast to the bland functionality of a screw-top bottle. However, the fact is that twist-off tops are a sure thing, whereas corks have a 5-10% failure rate. So, even the best winemakers may decide to go with the safer bet and opt for screw-tops. 

Though it’s sad to let go of some of these beliefs, wine is a drink best served with truth (and in moderation).

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